Nude Descending a Staircase (after de Kooning)

I was making a personal transition with my artwork from the literal to something less literal, deviling into abstraction when I became aware of Marcel Ducamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, which I found fascinating. It was from that artwork that I started to study the Abstract Expressionist, first Arshile Gorky then Willem de Kooning and eventually all of the others. It was when de Kooning’s artworks bounced between figurative to very abstract, that he stated “What’s the problem, it’s all about Freedom“. Something I think worth remembering…

I think that Ducamp’s artwork continued to be a latent memory when I was recently working on my series to investigate Quantum Mechanics (Quantum Elements). This series of artwork, at least from my perspective, has bounced between the literal and the abstract, with this artwork, Nude Descending a Staircase (after de Kooning) definitely the later. I also bounce between naming an artwork with a literal title or something more ambiguous, thus when I created this piece, the title of Nude Descending a Staircase immediately jumped out. This artwork did not encompass the angular lines evident flat planes in Ducamp’s No.2, although what resonated with me is that this was softer and fluid with flowing pools of color that de Kooning might have created, thus seems appropriate to provide him with the inspirational credit, which is due.

I will admit when my friend Renee Jacobs juried the recent SouthEast Center for Photography theme The Nude, that I was tempted to submit this image. I also realize that Jacobs is a very literal figurative photographer and she does not exhibit any artwork that appears very abstract, as well as I only had the one image to submit, not five (to increase the odds, eh?). So I decided to wait and see what she selected, which now that has been posted and I think does confirm my suspicions. Oh yeah, I may have spent plenty of time drawing the nude in art classes, while that subject did not carry over into my personal practice. Maybe something to reconsider?

Meanwhile, this might be an interesting artwork for someone who would like to own an abstract nude that has a certain amount of ambiguity.



Featured artwork: Nude Descending a Staircase (after de Kooning), 24 x 30″ printed on Hahnemuehle Rag Metallic, edition of 5, copyright 2020 Douglas Stockdale

Next exhibition:

May 7th – 29th, 2021, Southeast Center for Photography (SEC4P), Greenville, South Carolina. A group photographic exhibition on the theme of Flora, juried by Wendi Schneider. Opening concurrent with Greenville’s First Friday events while there will not be a formal artists reception of this exhibition due to the pandemic.


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